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DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

Northern VA
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DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

Hello everyone. I am going to have to drive from Northern VA/DC to NYC (Broadway show) and drive back after the show? The show is at 2:00 p.m., weekday. Should I park at NJ Transit and train it in? Is it faster to do that than to just drive all the way to NYC? What about leaving NYC at 5:00 p.m. after the show? I will have my 11 yr old daughter with me.

Thanks for the help.

Sterling, VA
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1. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

If you can do it, just take Amtrak from Union Station in DC. It's far less aggravating than driving. You know what traffic is like in NoVA plus I-95/Jersey Pike is no fun either. The Acela is faster than the regional train by 30 minutes or so but the regional train is cheaper.

MD
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2. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

Why are you doing it in one day? I drive to and in NY all the time but that is a long day, I would not do and I am a couple of hours closer than you are.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

Unfortunately, Amtrak's prices rise the closer you get to the day of departure. So, e.g., if you have tickets to this week's Wednesday matinee, the roundtrip fare for you and your daughter will total $255, even tho' she rides for 1/2 price.

I just checked hotel rates for this Wednesday night, and you would be able to get a room in a decent & clean hotel for less than $125, including taxes. If you can swing that, I would heartily encourage you to do so. Otherwise, you'll want to wait until after the evening rush hour this out before hitting the road for the return trip -- and that will make for an exceedingly loooooong day.

There is another possibility: you two could travel via one of the better, discount bus services. There are 2 companies I'm comfortable recommending that leave from Arlington, Vamoose and Tripper; their 7:30 AM departure times would get you here in time (even if there's delay), but the latest NYC departure time is 5:30 PM from outside Penn Station and I fear you might not get there from the theatre in time to get on the bus.

Megabus leaves from the municipal parking lot at the corner of H Street NW & 10th Street NW in DC, behind the Grand Hyatt Hotel. They run many more buses to/from NYC, including buses for the return trip at, e.g., 6:15 and 7:15 PM. The cost for roundtrip travel for the 2 of you would be $76.

This still means there will be a lot of hours on the road for 1 day, but at least you won't have to do the driving. And I think it's likely to be cheaper than the cost to you of gas, tolls, parking.

I traveled via Megabus several weeks ago for the first time and was pleased. The double-decker bus was brand new and clean & the driver was excellent.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

Link to Megabus website:

http://www.megabus.com/us/index.php

If your tix are not for this Wednesday, the bus fare might be even cheaper. Megabus sells a select number of seats on each trip for as little as $1.

Northern VA
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5. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

Hi everyone. Hope you had a good Monday. To EVERYone who replied, thank you VERY much. I've never been to NYC so I'm sure tourist will be evident at first glance.

Suefee... you mentioned Amtrak. I checked them out and it is about $285 for my daughter and I... and that's with a military discount. I even checked for next week and it's only about $30 cheaper. Too bad. I've never done Amtrak before either... that would've been cool.

onegoldendog... I need to do it in one day because I'm having to pull my daughter out of school. I let her teacher know today. My daughter will go to school on Thursday. Tney are out on Friday (teacher work day) and then on Spring Break the following week. I had originally planned to go to NYC to a show and see the main sites for a few days next week, but my daughter kept coming in the room when I was trying to make reservations on Ticketmaster. I kept minimizing and clicking so she wouldn't see what I was doing. Well, I ended up clicking and buying on the wrong day and because I did the e-ticket thing it was very hard to sell them (won't do e-tickets again). I was going to get my money back via the event insurance but I got my work to rearrange things so I can just take this Wednesday off. Tickets next week are at least double what I paid for this Wednesday... and I have great seats... dead middle of center orchestra, about 10 rows back. I still may ride the bus again next week so we can do the NYC sightseeing thing. Still trying to figure out the best way to do that. I was advised NOT to use the subway as we will likely stand out as tourists... mom and daughter... not safe. Would need some kind of tour or two... and good deal on hotel. We'll see how it goes. Trust me, I was sooooooooo not thrilled about doing all that driving on Wednesday but I was running out of options... unless I threw away the $250 I spent.

CockleCove... I am actually looking at Megabus as my mode of travel on Wednesday. A friend of a coworker travels between DC and NY all the time via bus and she suggested Megabus or Apex bus. The Apex schedule will not get me there early enough before the show. Megabus will get me there and back... and you can't beat $76 for the both of us. I would spend that on gas and parking andn train trips. At least we can both sleep on the bus.

QUESTION though... I read on another forum that the lines for people waiting on Megabus can be outrageous and that people are shoving and jumping lines and that you sometimes get bumped to the next bus. Is that true? How is that even possible if you have a reservation? I cannot take the risk of missing the play. Right now I am planning on parking at work and taking the metro to Gallery Place to catch the bus that leaves at 7:15. If we are there for the bus at 6:45 we should be good, right? Is there a chance we could get bumped? I was told that there is ALWAYS a line for that bus. And I read that the missed buses and jumping lines, etc. is worse for the buses coming back from NY to DC. Anyone heard of any problems like these?

Thanks again everyone. I am a true novice when it comes to traveling by bus or train or to NYC via any means. I really appreciate you all sharing what you know!

New York NY
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6. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

Whoever advised you not to ride the subway because you'll stand out as tourists either hasn't been to New York City since 1980, has been watching too much television or is simply nuts.

Do you have any idea how many tourists ride the subway from all over the world and from the Deep South (U.S.)? Yes, they're obvious, sometimes I even say to them, it isn't like MARTA, is it? MARTA is the Atlanta subway that lots of people who live in Atlanta never set foot on. Our transport is extremely safe and very welcoming, we do not have the type of crime you seem to be worried about. I'm very disappointed somebody would say that to you in this day and age, it is like making a hurtful racist statement about people based on the color of their skin, national origin or sexuality.

Driving roundtrip from Northern Virginia to NYC in the same day sounds like absolute torture to me. I've spent more time stuck on I-95 than I'd care to recount.

Check with jetBlue, check orbitz, check everything. Anything you can do to avoid this drive will be worth it. If you must do it, I suggest you drive to MetroPark train station (in Iselin NJ) and take NJ Transit into Manhattan. Wednesday afternoon traffic getting out of NYC won't be fun.

Alternatively, you can park at the NY Waterway in Weehawken NJ or drive through the Lincoln Tunnel, park in the first garage and walk to the theatre. You're going to be exhausted and miserable by the time you get back that evening, just be prepared, it isn't an easy drive.

The train isn't cheap but it is worth it.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

I can only speak from my 1 experience on a Tuesday morning a couple of weeks ago. There was no chaos, no ruffians at the Megabus pick-up point when I was waiting for the bus to arrive.

There is another bus company [maybe Bolt?] that uses that same spot for pick-ups/drop-offs so there was a bit of confusion with arrivals not being certain which cluster they should stand with. But both companies had representatives there to help steer people to the right spot -- and to check your voucher, so that when the bus pulls up, luggage can be stowed in its belly and passengers can board more quickly. It all proceeded in orderly fashion.

Granted, I was there for a mid-morning bus, later than the one you're shooting for, but since (so far as I know), this week is not a vacation time for any schools or colleges, I'm thinking that it shouldn't be too zoo-y for you.

Megabus also had a rep waiting at the drop-off point by New York Penn Station. So, maybe those horror stories you've heard are now a thing of the past?

Keeping my fingers crossed for you, and CONGRATS on getting such fabulous seats for that wonderful show!

P.S. You'll be fine on the subways; they're really quite safe -- have been for a number of years (I can't remember the last time a friend/acquaintance had their wallet lifted, let alone suffer any more unfortunate incident). Of course, you'll want to take usual precautions like keeping your handbag zipped/shut and close to your body, same as anywhere.

Northern VA
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8. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

Hi MoreFFmiles. Thank you for taking the time out of your night to reply. I was actually surprised about the advice to not use the subway. I mean, I can read a rail map. I do it all the time when using the metro here in the VA/DC/MD area. I was actually trying to work a "see the main sights" via subway for next week for my daughter and I. I wouldn't mind an economical tour if it allowed enough time at the main attractions (Statue of Liberty, Top of the Rock, Empire St Bldg, etc.). What do you think about getting from the Megabus stop to Gerswhin on Wednesday? Cab or subway? Do you know anything about people getting bumped off the bus they made reservations for? I plan on calling Megabus tomorrow before I pay for my tickets. Still not too keen on walking from the bus the metro late at night (about 11 pm) on Wednesday night in NW DC, but I was told it's only about 1/2 a block.

I would love to do Amtrak but nearly $300 isn't worth it and not in my single income budget. Even on Amtrak, it still takes a little over 3 hrs to get there.

Again, thanks for sharing your NYC insider info. I know nothing about NYC... only what I read, see, and hear. I'm looking forward to seeing it first-hand. It will be a first for my daughter AND for me!

New York City, New...
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9. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

My suggestion: take a #1 subway trainfrom Penn Station (it's the easiest subway line for newbies to find, I think, coming thru the door I think you'll be using to enter this transportation complex) 2 stops to the 50th Street station.

That will be faster (and cheaper) than taking a taxi uptown mid-day.

Northern VA
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10. Re: DC - NYC - DC all in one day - by car

CockleCove - thanks for letting me know how the crowds and bus representatives handle the chaos at the stops. You're right. There is a BoltBus that leaves from the same spot in DC. Same round-trip fare too. I normally wouldn't be too concerned about getting bumped an hour later but we're on a tight schedule coming and going.

Thanks too for the subway info. I know lots of tourists must use it. I probably won't do too much subway at night... but I don't do that here either, esp. with my young daughter with me.

I'm excited about those seats. I showed the seating chart and where we'd be to a few coworkers and they were like "WHOA!" Funny thing is, when I bought them online I said, "SCORE!" outloud as I clicked for payment. It wasn't until a few hours later, after my daughter was in bed and I went to print my tickets from the e-mail link, that I realized I had made a major goof.

Wow... you can sure tell from my earlier posts that I don't spell check anything in here. Whoopsie. Sorry 'bout those typos. Too bad there isn't an "edit your own post" feature in here. Unless there is one and I'm missing it.